Gen. Ke Kimyan has been sacked from his position as the Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces under a royal decree signed by King Sihamoni on the 22nd of January 2009, and Gen. Pol Saroeun has been appointed in his place. According to Mr. Khieu Kanharith, the government spokesman, this is not a sacking, but rather it is a military reform. He said: “This is a routine reshuffle. It is a military reform.” He added that Gen. Ke Kimyan has not been sacked. He will still serve in the RCAF. But when pressed what position Gen. Ke Kimyan will be appointed to, he refused to comment. At the same time as the removal of Gen. Ke Kimyan and the appointment of Gen. Pol Saroeun, the royal decree has also promoted seven other generals.
Gen. Ku Kim was promoted to Deputy Commander-in-Chief and a Joint Chief of General Staff. Gen. Meas Sophea has been promoted to Deputy Commander-in-Chief and Commander of the Army (Ground Forces). Gen. Mol Roeub, Gen. Chea Dara, Gen. Hing Bunheang and Gen. Sao Sokha has been promoted to Deputy commander-in-Chief of the RCAF on top of their current positions. Admiral Ung Samkhan has been moved from the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy to become the Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the RCAF. Admiral Tea Vinh (Tea Banh’s brother) has been promoted to Commander-in-Chief of the Navy vacated by Admiral Ung Samkhan.
The royal decree to remove Gen. Ke Kimyan and to appoint Gen. Pol Saroeun was signed by King Sihamoni under the advice of Prime Minister Hun Sen. Gen. Ke Kimyan held the position of Commander-in-Chief of the RCAF since 1993. He was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the RCAF on the 5th of July, 1994, after he resigned as a member of parliament. Before he was appointed as the RCAF Commander-in-Chief, he was the Under-Secretary of State of Defence.